Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Don't Blink. You might miss a year or so.

It is hard to believe it has been over a year since I have posted on this blog. With life, work, having a 3 year old and and my fiance breaking her leg in 2 spots. I have been away from posting for a bit and now it is time to get back behind the keyboard. I have some really good posts and adventures coming up in the near future.

As of this year in June I joined the MINOX Adventure Team. MINOX makes high quality binoculars, rifle scopes, spotting scopes, game cams, and a few other great products. I have been using a few products for the past few months. I am currently testing out the MINOX BL HD 10x42 binoculars, a DTC 700 Game Cam, and a ZX5i 15x56 SF rifle scope for my 30-06. I am very excited to test these products out this year. I also have a few other gear reviews for this year. I have been using the EXO Mountain Gear 3500 pack for over a year.I will give my review on that as well as my new tripod set up for this season, Jimmy Tarps Granite Mountain and bivy sack, as well as a few other items I have been using this season.

As for the 2016 hunting season Al and I have had our ups and downs. We lost 2 spots due to fires in areas that we know hold deer. Since our spots have burned up we have had to start all over. Last week was our first weekend back out scouting new locations. I spotted a great shooter buck that I will be looking for on opening day. We also got our trail cams set in a few great areas on some promising deer trails. I will be pulling them the end of August and hoping for 4-5 bucks on the cams. Hopefully I will have a few great pictures to share too. All in all I am excited for the rest of this year and to see what happens this upcoming hunting season.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Outlook

As the new year rolls in the planning for the upcoming year has already begun. I had let my training slip after I got back from Colorado and gained some of the weight that I lost. The deserts were what were getting to me. I am looking forward into getting back into shape.  With my younger son being 1.5 years old and my older son turning 11 it is time to get  them out in the field more. I plan on hiking a lot more this year, with so many local trails with in an hour from my house I need to take advantage of them more. This will also help me in finding new areas to hunt for deer.

This year I plan on getting back out on the golf course. I have been playing here and there the past few years and my game has really slipped. To me golf and archery are very much the same due to the  repetition. If one part of your form is off then who knows where the ball or arrow will go. So I plan on focusing on these more to better build my form.

I will also be heading over to Honolulu this year for my cousins wedding. I am thinking I might take the bow to see if I could find an Island hog or 2. That would be great but I'm not sure if time will allow it. With the whole family being over there it might just be to crazy. I will be taking the plunge into marriage this year as well. As of now we are planning some time in November to avoid most of the hunting seasons. I want to get back to Missouri to see my Grandpa and a few family members back there and possibly look for a good spot to hunt whitetail.

With the calendar already filling up, my hunting partner and I are already starting to plan where to hunt in 2015. With a few great choices local and a few a little farther away, I may opt to stay closer to home and hunt D-14 or D-11. I would love to do 2-3 trips for 3-4 days each. I just miss being out under the stars in my tent, listening to the sounds of the peaceful forest as I drift off to sleep. Colorado is still burning in my mind and I hope by 2016 I will be able to make the trip back for elk. My father told me when I was young the older you get the faster years fly by. As I type this it is already half way through January. Soon it will be opening day and we will all wonder were the time has gone. I hope 2015 is a great year for all of us.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Hiking We Shall Go Part 4

The plan for today was simple. We were going to hike past the 2nd outfitters camp and head into a few far meadows we had on the map. We made great time getting to the second camp. We crossed over the stream and into a meadow. Almost immediately we heard a yelp. Nocking my arrow as fast as I could so we could get into position. It seemed as soon as I nocked the arrow the coyotes started to howl like crazy. S%@t! After I took a second to catch up with my thoughts and emotions we kept heading in and up to the spot we had talked about the night before.

As we reached the second meadow and the spot we were hoping to find, we found a great looking area another .5 miles up the mountain. We both gave each other that look, but we knew we needed to push on. As we climbed and breaths got shorter I could only look to the tree line as my goal. We reached a great spot with a small peak surrounded by a huge meadow. Once again we sat and called for about 2 hours. We were in the shade and shitting in just my pants and shirt it was little chilly. A the sun got higher I could feel the temps start to climb almost instantly. I had a squirrel at 3 yards rummaging through the brush below me. I moved my boot about a 1/4 of an inch and he froze. He sat there looking at me trying to figure out what or who I was. I slowly reached for my trail mix to toss him a nut. He wanted no part of the a took off like a rocket. I think he is still running to this day.I heard Al coming through the bushes and we decided to head a little higher up the mountain to see if we could glass anything up on the surrounding hillsides. Once again nothing was to be seen or heard So we made our way back to camp.

On the way we stopped and set up at the only bear sign we have seen all week. Al had a bear tag and we figured this would be the best spot to set up. I found myself a nice dead fall and kicked backed while Al was in bear mode. No sign of any movement so we headed back to camp for lunch.

The evening we venture off in a new direction we had not gone yet. We were perched a few hundred yards above a pond. At one point we noticed movement in the water. Hoping to see a bull or a cow come from behind the trees we were surprise by 2 ducks going crazy and having a good ol' time splashing in the water. As the sun set we headed back to camp. We were going to pack down to lower elevation in the morning set up camp and hunt a few lower areas. As I drifted of to sleep I had not ideal I would be awaken at 2:00am.

I was awoken by something hitting my tent and myself in the head. We both screamed and yelled as we got out of our tents. Just picture its 2:00am, I am in only my boxers and I am barefoot. I have my flashlight and my .357, Al has his flash light and bear spray ready. At least he was in his base layers. I grabbed my jacket from my tent and we looked all around camp and could not see or hear anything. The only sign was a faint imprint in the dust on my tent. We chatted for a few and back in the tents we went. I fell asleep rather quickly for what had just happened.

We woke up, packed up camp per our plan to move to a lower elevation and headed down the mountain. W found a new camp site close to a river and set up camp. We filtered water, had some snacks and checked out the lay of the land. We knew we only had 2 hunts left so we would make the best of it. That evening we headed to the beaver ponds and sat over a pond with great sign and tracks all around the pond. Unfortunately we did not see anything around the pond. We made the hike out and decided we would not side hill back to the area we had just hunted. We had dinner and a Pats Back Country Brew by the stream then headed into a meadow to look at the stars. There were thousands of stars to look at. We did spot a mule deer buck feeding in the meadow in the dark. Finally a game animal. We watched him feed for a while then we headed to bed.

Then next morning we took off in a different direction hope to seal the deal. It pretty much followed suit with the other hunts. The only thing we heard was each other calling. We headed back to camp to load up and hike back to the truck. Once we made it to the truck we had a beer and a cigar to end the trip. All in all I had a blast and can not wait to get back to elk country. We stayed the night in Cortez took showers and hit the town for a good dinner.

We hit the road first thing in the morning back to California

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Hike Continues Part 3

As we awoke with high hopes for the day, we wanted to get out and find elk.  We loaded up our packs for the morning, a Pro Bar for breakfast and we started heading out behind camp. We hiked up to a great looking meadow and set up in a tree line. Al was about 75 yards behind me calling. We sat for over 2 hours with no bugles or any sight of elk. With the temperatures rising we decided to head deep into the woods to hopefully find an elk bedded down or at least moving through the cool trees. We hiked over another mile behind one of the mountains behind camp.  If you would have told me on day one we would be hiking around this peak I would of thought there is no way I would even think about it. Little did I know we hike way past this peak and climb up even high the next morning. As we hiked we would let out a cow call here and there to see if we could get some sort of response. Through the trees we could see a huge meadow lined with pine trees and aspens. The aspens were still very green and not started to change to the fall colors. As we came into the clearing I spotted a meat pole, fire ring and a few other signs of a old outfitters camp.

We pulled out the map and found a stream to be on the other side of the meadow.  We explored the area and found a very recent outfitters camp. This had to be where the pack horses where coming from. At this point things started looking better. We saw they had elk and this might be the right area. We set up in some trees that gave us a 360 degree view of the meadow. We called and called and called hoping either to get an answer or at least catch something moving to bed. It was approaching 11am and getting extremely hot. We decided to head back to camp  to refresh and reload on water for the afternoon. At camp we enjoyed lunch and relaxed in the shade.  we talked about the evening hunt and what our plan should be.

We decided to sit the waterhole above camp, Al would go farther to one side and I would cover the other side over looking the pond and a few open meadows in the valley. We called almost till dark for  nothing. At this point, I am more of a glass half empty guy and Al is the glass is half full guy. I was a bit frustrated to say the least. Although with Al's positive thinking it helped me to keep pushing on. I knew things could change in a matter of seconds. It was between 5-6pm and still it was very warm.  We sat the high ridge above camp and glassed till dark. The only time I put on my jacket was back at camp once the sun went down. It would get chilly but it was still not what I was expecting. I was worried about being to cold before the trip now I wish I would of had my Southern California gear.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Colorado 2014 Let The Pack-in Begin part 2

As we rolled out of bed Monday morning feeling well rested and ready for the hike we had in front of us. Once again we hit up the free breakfast at hotel to fuel up and we hit the road for the trail head. After the hour or so drive we were at the trail head loading our packs with the last minute items and strapping on the bows. "The Bama Boys" pulled in shortly after us. They had hike in the day before to set up camp and get situated. The told us they made it back to the car just as it started to rain last night. These guys drove 24 hours straight then hiked over 6 miles that day. These guys were not messing around.

"The Bama Boys" geared up quickly and hit the trail ahead of us. We put on our 85 pound packs and started the hike in. The trail was covered in mud which made foot placement very important. We hiked past the spot we stopped at yesterday and headed up steep muddy switch backs. The mud caked up on our boots, with the mud, the weight of my pack and the altitude I had to give it all I had. We found the cut off trail that lead up to the area we wanted to camp. We hiked 50-100 yards at a time and would stop for a breather. With temps only in the mid 50's I was still sweating my butt off.

As we started up the cut off trail we were passed by an outfitter with pack mules packing down a 4 x 5 rag horn and possibly a cow from the looks of the load on the mules. Hopes were high as we must be in elk country. As we hiked on we passed "The Bama Boys" camp and kept on going.  There was little streams and weeps of water every were. We climbed up another hill and I needed a break as Al pressed on another 100 yards or so. He returned rather quickly as he spotted a camp and a decoy about 300 yards away. We had competition in the area. This could have been good or bad as they might push something our way or we could spook something to them.

We hiked up to a small flat spot in the trees and decided this was going to be home for the next 4-5 days. We quickly set up camp, hung our food and then set off to find water. We knew of the stream down hill from us but did not want to carry almost 4 gallons of water up hill. We set off behind camp, a few minutes later we found a nice little stream that was flowing pretty good. We pumped our bladders and filled our spare containers and set back off to camp. The whole time at camp we never heard a bugle or saw movement in the valleys but it was hot. So I did not expect to see much in the middle of the day.

We made the call to not get to far from camp as we were a little tired from the hike in. We found a small pond surrounded by aspens and pines. I set up just inside the tree line and Al took off 50-75 yards behind me to to call. We sat for close to 2 hours. We did not see or hear anything in the 2 hours. I heard Al coming up behind me so I packed my gear and we headed to a high spot to glass. We glassed till almost dark. Then down the hill back to camp. We had dinner, I had beef stroganoff mountain house. It was pretty good. I just should have grabbed some pepper from my food bag. It was off to sleep in hopes of elk in the morning.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Colorado 2014 We Came, We Hiked, Then We Hiked Some More. Part 1

We loaded up the truck Friday September 19 2014, with alarms set and all the gear loaded it was time for my last man soda and off to bed. 5:00am came quick. I showered and said my goodby's to my family, I left my house at 5:38. I told Al I would be over around 5:45am I was right on time. We hit the road, with 2 stops for gas and 10.5 hours later we pulled into Cortez. We got our room at Super 8 and headed to Walmart. We picked up our over the counter tags along with a few other items for the trip. We had a good dinner at Jimmer's BBQ and headed back to the room to get a good nights rest for the hike in in the morning. About 12:30 am I caught a flash out of my eye and then heard some of the loudest thunder I have ever heard. It proceeded to rain the rest of the night and into the morning. At that point we decided to to sleep in and get a bankers start.

Once we rolled out of bed we hit up the free breakfast downstairs. As we ate, the Weather Channel was on and calling for a massive thunder storm to come through Sunday afternoon till mid Monday Morning. We left for the trail head around 8 am. We were trying to find a few spots we had previously located on Google Earth to set our camp and just get used to the area we will be hunting in. Once we got to the trail head the Rinehart came out and we both shot a few arrows. We were slapping arrows at 20 yards. Time to beat feet.

 We headed in to the high country, crossed a river and started climbing a trail out of the valley. We found fresh elk tracks in the mud covered trail. At that point things were starting to look up. We climbed the trail for 40-45 minutes or so, the trail just kept switch backing away from the areas we were wanted to hunt. We headed back down the trail to a few ponds we saw on the way in. There was recent sign of elk and beaver all around the ponds, even a huge beaver dam. As the clouds started to billow up from the other side of the mountain. We hiked back down to check one last spot past the first trail we took. The surroundings where beautiful. There were small streams everywhere and one raging river. This is high country elk hunting, I was hooked. We called it a day and headed back to the truck.

At the truck we took our packs off, as we were getting ready to leave as two guys from Alabama pulled in to the trail head. Now known as "The Bama Boys". We all introduced ourselves and explained both our plans as to were we would be hunting. None of us wanted to impede on each others hunting grounds. "The Bama Boys" were going to the right and we were going left, perfect. "The Bama Boys" were great guys and very helpful. They filled us in on a cut off trail that lead deeper into the mountains and that there were a few good water sources higher up. The trail turned out to be the one we were looking for all along. Hunters helping hunters out is not something I am used to being from California. Now that I think of it everyone we met was very nice and helpful. We hit Main St Brewery in Cortez for dinner, I had a great burger and a few man sodas. At dinner time flew by as we set a game plan for the morning. When we got back to the room the sky broke loose and for the rest of the night we had thunder, lightening and rain.I know one of us was up every hour looking out the window hoping the storm would blow through quicker than predicted. It did not.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Burning Boot Rubber On The Holiday Weekend

With Colorado being just around the corner for my hunting partner and I and all the packing and planning to be done, this is the only weekend we could make it out to check our cams. So we set the plan to hit it early and beat the holiday traffic and the Southern California heat. We have had them set in this new location for a little over month. We found some good sign and decided to give it  shot. It could be a bust or we could find exactly what we are looking for, Big Bucks.

The game cams have helped us huge this year. With a 1 year old, work, house work and planning for Colorado, I have been very busy to say the least. I know Al has been in the same position with the family, work and planning for Colorado. It has been tough for us to get out and glass the hills as much as we want. With the use of game cams we have been able to look at new areas this year that last year would of taken lots of time to glass. We have had a few spots that were a bust and a few that have deer just not exactly what we are looking for. So we moved the cams and let them do most of the work. I know this is not a new practice but for us it has helped out more than I could have thought. Instead of spending 12-14 hours in the field we are able to get in and out rather quickly. It helps out with being able to get home and not use a whole day in the field. That time can be saved for hunting.

So who else is going to make it out in the field this weekend? Are you going hunting, fishing, camping or just a day hike with the family. I will also be hitting Gum Grove Park Monday morning if anyone want to get 2.5-4 miles. For most people Labor Day is the end of summer. For us in California it always seems to be summer. If you do make it out this weekend post a comment on what you did. Even if you just stayed at the house and had BBQ.

I know I will be hiking at least 2 days, getting all my gear ready for Colorado and fletching up some new Deer Crossing Archery Hunter arrows for the trip. I bet I will also have some house work to toss in the mix as the 3 day weekend plays out. It seems to never end. In a few days it will be off to Colorado to relax and chase elk. I know those two don't come hand in hand, to me it's a vacation. That will hopefully be filled with bugles and bulls to chase all over the high country.